When a small, timid, 18-year-old Rosarian flew from Catalonia to Holland for the U-20 World Cup in 2005, there was a lot of excitement surrounding the talented Argentine teenager and his alien-like football ability.
He was a player who had overcome the odds - having previously been told he was too small to play whilst struggling with a complicated growth hormone deficiency throughout his adolescence.
Despite this, he had graduated through Barcelona's acclaimed 'La Masia' academy as a star student and earned his chance for a first-team place, before jetting off to join his international teammates.
Six goals, a winner's medal, a Golden Shoe and an MVP award later and Lionel Messi had announced himself on the international stage.
In the 15 years that has followed, he has achieved the landmarks of being his country's youngest World Cup captain and goalscorer, whilst famously winning Olympic gold in 2008.
Additionally, his tally of 71 goals and 42 assists have broken a multitude of Albiceleste records, most notably when he usurped Gabriel Batistuta to become their all-time record scorer.
From fiery friendlies with familiar foes to crucial hat tricks and fabulous free kicks, he has a number of famous goals for the South American giants.
Here at Planet Sport, we have chosen 10 of Lionel Messi's best goals in an Argentina shirt.
USA 0-4 Argentina
Copa America, 2016
As far as international goals go, it's quite hard to beat an unstoppable 30-yard free kick that crowns you as your country's all-time record goalscorer.
This is exactly the profound achievement reached by Messi in his side's Copa America clash with the United States.
In a split second, he had effortlessly struck the ball up and over the wall and into the far right corner of Brad Guzan's goal, to the disbelief of both sets of players.
The mesmerising moment of genius was honored as the first goal of its kind to receive a nomination for the acclaimed FIFA Puskas Award.
Nigeria 1-2 Argentina
World Cup, 2018
Sensationally sending their country through to the World Cup knockout rounds - and towards a closely contested tie with eventual champions, France - goals from Messi, and an unorthodox scorer in Marcos Rojo, were enough to help them overcome Nigeria.
Amongst the celebration of the result, was a collective appreciation for an Albiceleste goal that rivalled some of their best in recent tournaments, and it had come as no surprise who'd scored it.
Breaking the tie's deadlock, Messi perfectly controlled an audacious 50-yard pass from Ever Banega on the edge of the Nigeria box, and mercilessly slotted it past a stranded Francis Uzoho.
The magnificent goal received worldwide plaudits and a deserved nomination for Goal of the Tournament.
Argentina 2-1 Bosnia
World Cup, 2014
Another World Cup group game, another brilliant Messi goal.
This time, Messi got off to a flier in Brazil as a sumptuous second-half strike secured all three points for Argentina, in their first game of the tournament.
With his nation leading 1-0 in a scrappy, closely contested encounter, the mini maestro was at his very best, stunning the Southern Europeans with a remarkable moment of magic.
Following a quick one-two with Gonzalo Higuain, he glided past two Bosnian bodies with ease to cannon a 25-yard rocket off the post and into the back of the net.
Despite a late goal from Bosnia, the Argentinians held on to make a perfect start to proceedings.
Argentina 1-0 Iran
World Cup, 2014
Despite making the fewest number of passes in a World Cup game since the 1966 tournament (130), a resolute Iran side looked to have snatched a point from a frustrated Argentina, as their group stage game headed for a nil-nil stalemate.
Or so they thought.
Having pushed for a breakthrough throughout the game, Alejandro Sabella's side grabbed a dramatic late winner during stoppage time, in emphatic fashion.
Scoring a goal of the highest order, Messi latched onto an Ezequiel Lavezzi pass before striking a curling 25-yard effort into the far-left corner of the Iran goal.
Winning his first of four man of the match awards at the competition, he secured qualification to the round of 16, leaving the Iran faithful heartbroken.
Brazil 3-4 Argentina
International friendly, 2012
A friendly? Argentina and Brazil don't know the meaning!
Lionel Messi definitely doesn't.
As the two South American sides finalised their preparations for the London Olympics, a seven goal thriller with two red cards and 80,000 fans felt more like a cup final - and it was a heroic hat trick from the brilliant number-ten that dealt a sucker punch to his infamous rivals.
It was Messi's third of the occasion that was the pick of the bunch, and also the winner.
Picking up the ball on the halfway line, he seemed untouchable as he raced through Brazil territory to produce an astounding lob from outside the area, to award Argentina the bragging rights.
As the aftermath of the goal boiled over, Marcelo and Ezequiel Lavezzi were sent off for their respective countries when they were embroiled in an altercation during injury time.
Far from friendly.
Argentina 3-0 Mexico
Copa America, 2007
A youthful Messi was on top form as a comfortable 3-0 victory for Argentina to set up a final clash with age-old rivals, Brazil in the Copa America.
After a Carlos Tevez pass found him in the opponent's penalty area, Messi spotted goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez off his line, elegantly lofting the ball over the Mexican to score the second of the evening.
Despite Argentina coming up short in the final, his mature and resolute performances throughout the competition were enough to earn his place in the 'Team of the Tournament' at just 20 years old.
Argentina 3-0 Colombia
World Cup qualifier, 2016
With Argentina's hopes of a World Cup place teetering on the brink of disaster, it was down to their courageous captain to provide some much-needed belief, as he inspired a 3-0 victory.
Impressively, Messi had stamped his mark on the game within the first 10 minutes, as he broke the deadlock with a fascinating free kick.
His effortless 25-yard set piece brushed the underside of the bar as it flew into the bottom right corner to give La Albiceleste the lead in iconic fashion.
The much-needed win provided a lifeline for the Argentinians as they leapfrogged the Colombians in the qualifying table.
Ecuador 1-3 Argentina
World Cup qualifier, 2017
Averting his team from danger once more, the rampant Rosarian scored a crucial hat trick against the Ecuadorians to single-handedly send his side to the World Cup.
After his country conceded in the opening minutes of the match, he prevented nationwide heartbreak with a trio of goals of sheer beauty that featured an unforgettable third.
Argentina fans would have taken a scrappy tap-in from half a yard out if it meant they could watch their team in Russia, but as we all know - Messi rarely deals in those.
Weaving through two Ecuador defenders on the edge of the box, he steadied the ball before angling an audacious lob over Maximo Banguera to superbly seal their fate.
Becoming his country's hero once more, he was heavily praised by head coach Jorge Sampaoli, who said: "Luckily the nationality of the best player in the world is Argentinian."
Argentina 3-0 Uruguay
World Cup qualifier, 2012
In the glory days before most teams had players frequently lying behind their walls, occasionally fans were treated to the spectacle that is an under-the-wall free kick.
A master of the trade, Messi has scored a number of goals in this unorthodox fashion, and his effort in this fixture was nothing short of genius.
With a goal to his name already and the score all but settled at 2-0, Messi cleverly rolled the ball across the floor - to the surprise of the wall and the goalkeeper - and into the back of the net, to score his second of the evening.
The impressive win maintained Argentina's firm lead atop of their CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group.
Brazil 0-1 Argentina
International friendly, 2010
Another instalment in the saga of unfriendly… er... friendlies between Argentina and Brazil, saw Messi score a breathtaking last-minute winner, as his country prevailed in Qatar.
After an enthralling encounter filled with sublime skill, rising tensions and shots striking the woodwork, it appeared as if the two sides had cancelled each other out.
Arise, Sir Messi.
Easily evading the challenges of multiple Brazillian outfield players, he carried the ball to the edge of the 18-yard box before firing it into the far corner of the goal, in trademark fashion.
By Owen Thompson